Today’s News: Tight race for death penalty measure, outside money flows, Wooden in bronze

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Stories we are following today in the KCRW newsroom:

Fire danger. Fierce Santa Ana winds are ripping through Southern California. Combined with low humidity, the strong gusts are raising concerns about wildfires. A Red Flag warning will be in effect and L.A. and Ventura counties until tomorrow afternoon. KABC

Props poll. Support is on the upswing for a ballot measure that would end the death penalty in California. A USC-Dornsife L.A. Times poll finds that Proposition 34 is still trailing, but its prospects are improving. Forty-two percent are in favor, compared to 45 percent opposed. But when voters heard more about Proposition 34, such as its financial ramifications, the results flipped – 45 percent were in favor and 42 percent were opposed. The poll also finds solid support for Proposition 36, which would amend California’s Three Strikes law. L.A. Times

Outside money. Independent spending on California Congressional races is approaching $42 million, and money is still coming in. Newly redrawn districts and the state’s new open primary system have combined to create more competitive races than is typical in California. But the main reason for the influx of cash appears to be the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United ruling. L.A. Times

Prison transition. California will regain partial control of its prison healthcare system from a federal overseer today. The first task for state officials will be hiring and training 2,000 employees to operate the new California Healthcare Facility in Stockton. The 144-acre medical hub will house 1,700 inmates too sick to live in regular prisons. San Jose Mercury News

Bronze Wooden. Next week’s official reopening of UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion gets off to a head start today with the unveiling of a bronze statue of famed coach John Wooden outside the arena. The $163 million renovation includes a glass concourse, updated scoreboard as well as new food offerings and locker rooms. Wooden coached UCLA from 1948 to 1975, guiding the team to 10 NCAA championships. The Bruins won seven in a row from 1967 to 1973. WWLA

Land shark. A shark that dropped out of the sky onto the 12th tee of a San Juan Capistrano golf course was apparently carried there by a bird. Employees rescued the leopard shark by sticking it into a pot of salt water and rushing it back to the ocean, about 5 miles away. The shark had puncture wounds, apparently from the bird, but otherwise seemed OK. Yahoo! News